No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

45 Replies

No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

Posted by Meghan Custer on Apr 26, 2017 10:44 am

We absolutely love reading stories from pilots who recently completed their flight review after a long hiatus from flying. Just last week we heard from a pilot who attended a Rusty Pilots seminar in December 2016 - he was proud to report that he received his Flight Review endorsement on April 22, 2017 - after more than 10 years away from the cockpit! Are there any other pilots out there who have recently completed their flight review after a long break?
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Re: No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

Posted by Michael Walpole on Oct 23, 2018 9:51 am

I got my license in August 1982 in a 7ECA.  I actually soloed on my 29th birthday.  Over the next 4 years I flew about 160 hours in 7ECAs, 8KCAB, 150/152s, 172s, 182s, 172RG,  and PA18.  I believe the last time I flew was in 1986.  Hard to say for sure as my log book was in a briefcase that was stolen out of my car in the 90s.

Fast forward to 2016 and now with grown kids and some extra money, it was time to see if I could get back in the saddle.  The first hurdle was the medical and I got through that with AOPA's pilot protection services.  The next was getting current again in the air and getting a flight review.  That took about 10 hours or so.  At that time I found a flying club with a Warrior, which cut the cost of renting in half.  Later on I joined another flying club with a 182.

In the last 2 years I have flown ~200 hours.  I completed the Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Program flying to approximately 50 of the 66 airports.  I flew the 182 to Oshkosh this summer and next year I plan to fly the Warrior with the Cherokees 2 Oshkosh mass arrival.  I'm currently working on an instrument rating which I should finish this spring.

Not sure what the future holds, but the plan is to get commercial and CFI.  We'll see.
Mike W

Re: No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

Posted by Glenn Westfall on Nov 5, 2018 12:06 pm

Due to moving from NM to CA in 2011 and then ensuing medical conditions, I had been away from flying for a little over 11 years.  Something sparked my interest in flying again recently and I decided to look into what I need to do.  After hearing about Basic Med and the Rusty Pilot program, I decided to rejoin AOPA.  I completed my Basic Med and went to the local airport to set up a flight review with an instructor.  During the flight review, I couldn't believe how quickly everything came back to me.  I was able to complete the maneuvers he asked me to do with just a little coaching from the instructor.  The traffic pattern and landings went almost perfectly.  I am happy to say I am back in the cockpit and flying regularly again!  Now I need to practice some IFR techniques and have an IPC to get my IFR currency and proficiency back.....

Re: No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

Posted by Donald McLean on Nov 24, 2018 6:12 pm

Got my ppl in 1974/75 at Meadowlark out of Huntington Beach CA, flew monthly with various flights both local and up to 800 miles. In 1988, Moved to Hawaii and with money tight, left off flying during my time there. Back to the mainland in 1995 & for a variety of reasons never got back in the left seat. Now its 2018, and I have the “bug” again. I’ve got to the point of having all the paperwork in order (current medical, new “plastic” lic. ...). I was afraid of the medical but now I find out the hardest part is finding a CFI and a plane to rent! Go figure? My time is spent between Roswell New Mexico and Branson Missouri, I never imagined that I’d end up driving 1.5 - 2 hours one way and make appointments a week in advance to find a FBO with Rental planes and instruction! Would love to go to a Rusty Pilots seminar but will have to do the ground school catchup on line, I’ll update this after I get the Ck ride over with.

Re: No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

Posted by Scott Eslinger on Dec 9, 2018 9:01 am

I received my license as a Senior in High School back in 1987, and similarly to many Rusty Pilot stories, by 1998 life got in the way.  However, my youngest daughter started to develop an interest in flying over the last few years and started her flight lessons in August 2018.  I learned about the Rusty Pilots seminars at Oshkosh 2018 and decided it was time to jump back in myself.  I brought my daughter along to the seminar hosted at Wisconsin Aviation in Madison in September of 2018 and thanks to AOPA Ambassador Andy Miller, we both learned a lot.

I took my first lesson that next week.  I was a little anxious as to whether or not I would be able to do this again after being away from it for 20 years, but I was pleasantly surprised how quickly the flying came back.  There is a lot of newer technology to learn, but there are so many great learning resources and videos available on the internet for all of that.  I got to watch my daughter solo in October and on November 1st, after 6 flight hours and countless hours reading my daughter's training manuals and watching training videos online, I finished my flight review.  

Thank you AOPA for the Rusty Pilots program.  And Thank you to all the other pilots out there sharing their Rusty Pilot stories.  I truly enjoy reading them.  These stories gave me the motivation and confidence to do this again.


Re: No longer Rusty? Share your story here!

Posted by Bryan Lee on Dec 10, 2018 8:30 pm

Like a lot of others here I earned my license while still in high school and was lucky enough to learn at the same time as my dad.  Shortly after graduation he bought a nice 150 and followed up with a 172 (which felt like the space shuttle after all of our time in 150s).  I flew through college and had about 200 hours in 1990 when I took what was to be my last flight for a while in a rental 152 at the airport at Lawton, Oklahoma shortly after I reported for duty as an Army officer.  A succession of overseas tours pushed me further and further out of currency and the upgrading of the airspace system and the introduction of all that controlled airspace was enough to put me off flying once I returned back to the states.  I never lost interest in flying, but definitely felt it was something that I used to do and would never do again.

Fast forward to this year.  I was visiting an old friend who had suddenly developed an interest in flying and asked me about what it took to get a license.  I told him what I could remember and decided to follow up on my own curiosity by hitting the internet.  That led me to AOPA's rusty pilot web page where I read I wouldn't have to re-take my flight test.  That was the only push I needed. I told my wife I wanted to fly again and she just said "what took you so long?" We drove to a local flight school later that month and I completed a successful flight review yesterday.  Today was my second "solo" after my first one back in 1986, and it was as exciting today as it was then.

For anyone considering it, it is much easier than you think.  It's not a bicycle, but you'll be amazed how quickly your old training will come back to you. There are so many training resources available today (hello internet) and the automated tools available for the cockpit really do make navigation and dealing with airspace a lot easier than they used to be.

Thanks to AOPA for providing the push I needed and thanks to the rest of you for your stories and inspiration.